Our Mindfulness Time in Kindergarten

I have always been a big fan of Brain Gym kinesiology to prepare our brains, bodies and hearts for learning. I was fortunate to do my practicum with Jeanine Nahas, a Brain Gym consultant and was inspired to learn more. I did my level 1 Brain Gym training, and see the benefits it lends to children in learning environments.

This summer I began doing Yoga, and absolutely love it! The yoga instructor, Tara, at Lotus Village studio, spoke so passionately about her mindfulness lessons and instruction at Deep Cove elementary. I knew I had to start implementing more of this into our daily routine.

First off, I decided to make lavender eye pillows for the children. During the summer I went to IKEA and got fabric squares (for only 4$ for 50) and sewed around the edges to make them into mini eye pillow cases ready to be filled and sewn together by five year olds. We haveimg_1700 been busy measuring out flax seed, adding in dried lavender and sewing up the top edge of our pillows. What fun this has been! We are now using the eye pillows during our mindfulness time on our eyes, our bellies, or under our heads.
When we come in from our morning recess, we go to our individual spots (I would love to get yoga mats and cut them in half, but funds are always tricky…if you have an suggestion please let me know) and begin by lying on our backs with our hearts and palms open to the sky. We follow a similar music each day. We have been doing belly breathing once we get started, using a chime to guide our breaths.

img_1702

Once we are ready we begin with some floor poses, move up to sitting poses, and then finally a standing pose, I have added in our Brain Gym movements here too! After, we go back to the floor into hook ups, and then finally back uncrossed with our hearts and palms open up to the sky.

We end with thinking about what we are grateful for in our hearts. Who we are lucky to spend our days with, who we like to learn with an interact with at school. We then set a goal for ourselves for our day. We have been learning about the Spirit of Alliance animals and this is what we use as the core for our goal setting. For example a child may set a goal to be like the Salmon today because they are working on their journaling and not giving up when it feels challenging, or setting a goal to be like the Wolf today because they are remembering to use kind words with their friends.

img_1703

We end our mindfulness time with three chimes. The three chimes signal the children to put their eye pillows back the basket, slowly make their way to the carpet and be ready to share their goal, for the day, with our group. We have been using visuals on the wall and at their table spot to keep discussion and thoughts going in regards to their goal they have set. Their name tags have adjustable paper clips to slide to show which animal their goal relates to. We revisit their goals throughout the day in relation to their choices, actions and interactions.

img_1704

Thanks for reading!
Rebecca

Advertisements

The Salmon Teaches us About Growth Mindset

As part of our embarking on learning about the Spirit of Alliances, see post here, I realized a strong connecting between Growth Mindset and the Salmon. The Salmon is a great teacher about having a Growth Mindset, and this topic has been an enjoyed focus by our Kindergarten friends.

Over the past week, we have been discovering more about what the Salmon teaches us. We have been learning that the Salmon teaches us to persevere, to try new things, and to think openly and positively about new ideas. The Salmon teaches us that we may think like the Salmon in some situations, but not all. For instance, we may think with an open mind about trying something new, but a suggestion for a new way of doing something else new might feel challenging for us to think like Salmon about. Through many discussions, role plays and modelling we came to the conclusion that it is OK that we don’t always think and feel like Salmon in every situation. We also decided that when we aren’t feeling or thinking like Salmon, it is important to remind ourselves of what Salmon would do if Salmon where in a situation like ours in order to begin moving our thinking and feelings forward in a positive direction.

We brainstormed, after reading our Spirit of Alliances story, the different traits that the Salmon teaches and shares with us. We then worked on acting like Salmon in different role play situations, this was a great experience for some children who decided to partake as actors and actresses, and others was a important role as an audience member making observations when actors and actresses were thinking like Salmon and when they were not. When they were not thinking like Salmon, we gave suggestions as to how they might shift their thinking to be more like Salmon, if they were so inclined.

Our discussions about Growth Mindset and thinking like Salmon kept coming back to trying new things. For us, in Kindergarten, that was the biggest take away we had about thinking like Salmon. It seemed to be the most relatable piece for five year old’s. We decided it would be a great idea to journal about our experiences in trying new things, and sharing how it felt once we had tried something new. Here are a few examples of our work. The word ‘essayer’ (Try in French) became a fun word to say and use in our classroom this week.

This week we have been working on setting daily intentions and goals for ourselves which are based on the four Spirit of Alliance animals. Each morning we have been sharing orally about our intentions for the day in a circle setting. Lots of our friends have been sharing intentions based on the Salmon. Intentions such as keeping going when feeling frustrated, trying new activities, using my name tag to help me when I feel mad that I can’t write my name yet, listening to others suggestions, and many more. It is very inspiring to listen to four and five year old’s share about intentions and goals like this. Please stay tuned to hear how this progresses and how we begin to capture, reflect and share about how we are meeting our goals and intentions in Kindergarten.

Thank you,
Rebecca